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Peter Obi Raises Concerns Over Nigeria’s Rising Debt

Obi, the Labour Party’s (LP) presidential candidate in the 2023 election, expressed his concerns in a post on his social media page on Tuesday.

“Last year, 2023, our total debt servicing for domestic debts stood at N4.4 trillion and that of external debt servicing was $3.5 billion, which is about N4.9 trillion. In effect, approximately N10 trillion is now spent on servicing unproductive debts,” he stated.

Obi highlighted that this means the country is borrowing about N10 trillion in a quarter and spending a similar amount on debt servicing.

He noted that each of these figures surpasses the combined budget allocations for the “four priority areas” – defence (N3.25 trillion), education (N2.18 trillion), health (N1.33 trillion), and infrastructure (N1.32 trillion).

As per the Debt Management Office (DMO) report on March 22, Nigeria’s total public debt rose to N97.34 trillion, an increase of N9 trillion in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023. The rise was attributed primarily to new domestic borrowing by the federal government to partly cover the deficit in the 2024 budget, as well as disbursements from multilateral and bilateral lenders.

Obi expressed further concerns about the country’s borrowing trend, especially its rapid increase over the years and its impacts on the economy.

“More worrisome is the fact that there has been no corresponding visible usage or investments as required by the law, to show their impact on the nation’s development,” he said.

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